Saturday, March 17, 2012

Book Review 1-Hunger Games

Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins  Series Review (Warning Spoilers)
               The hype the Hunger Games has accumulated is pretty well earned (At least better deserved then Twilight in my opinion).  With well done covers that do not have girls in pretty prom dresses (Even though it could) The Hunger Games impressed me, cover and all. Granted it does have its flaws with a forced love triangle, and a villain who is no Andrew Ryan or Big Brother. The Hunger Games raised the bar and drew in popularity (whether for better or for worse) to dystopian YA. I see this as a good thing. 
            So the plot to the Hunger Games is pretty much this. The capitol rules over twelve districts, and in order to remind everyone who’s boss, one boy and one girl are taken from each district to fight in the hunger games. The rules to the Hunger Games are pretty simple, kill or be killed, and only one can survive.
            Katniss Everdeen is our main character, and a refreshing YA lead. She’s protective over her family, and is willing to do anything for her sister and mother.  The other characters like Peeta, Rue, Finnick, Johanna, and more really impressed me. Suzanne Collins knows how to build suspense, and knows how to make a reader care, and feel sorrow when something bad happens to the characters. For me the characters where everything for this series, and I can forgive a lot if the characters are good. I can also be a nitpick if they annoy me. With this series I understand the pain Katniss is going through. People often complained that Katniss became a complete mess by the end of the series, but wouldn’t we all? She lost practically her whole family, what’s worse is her mother won’t even bother to comfort or help Katniss. This emotional turmoil on top of the physical pain will haunt her for the rest of her life. So yeah I think she deserves a little slack at the end.
            However, despite good charaters, there are some “Eh” points to the plot. Towards the end of the series it started to make no sense. So District 13 exists and on top of that they did make bombs, yet they just sat back and did nothing for seventy years instead of blowing up the capitol? Uh-huh, right. I mean I understand Coin wanted to have the districts support, but really most of them would’ve been on her side if she went on ahead and blew up the capitol. Also why President Snow would allow district 13 existence is beyond comprehension for me.
            So here’s my rating of all the books.
            Hunger Games 5/5 stars- This book was simple and didn’t get into the flawed existence of District 13. It really had me in awe of the fact that these kids had to kill each other. Was it really worth living if I had to do that, or would the fear of death keep me going?
                Catching Fire 3/5 stars- This book started off pretty slow, but it did introduce some past victors that give us an idea of what being a victor is like. Unfortunately there isn’t much time to get to know these new characters. It does face that question I had in the first book. What if the tributes teamed up and worked together in a large group? The book was a little repetitive though with the interviews and chariot rides.  
            Mockingjay 3.5/5 stars- This book exposes the flaws of the book. Why would President Snow allow the existence of district 13? Did he really not see a rebellion coming?  Likewise why would Coin wait so long to rise up against the capitol. For as compelling the hero’s are, the villains are fairly weak. However, the character development of the hero’s sort of makes up for this flaw.  Peeta and Katniss’s relationship is strained, and Katniss is really puched to her limits. Gale’s character is reveled to be willing to sacrifice anything to bring down the capitol (While one might view this as a good thing, Gale takes things to the extreme at times).
           Even the minor characters like Johanna and Finnick get more rounded as characters. Granted I wish the relationship between Annie and Finnick was further looked into, but maybe it’s best that was shrouded in mystery. Unfortunately while the ending is realistic, it was lacking. Gale was sort of pushed off to the side, we never hear what happens to Johanna, and Haymitch goes back to being the worthless drunk he was at the beginning of the series. I wish Gale had died instead of Finnick, and I wish Haymitch would meet his end. Not because I hate his character, quite the contrary I like him, but to be honest I think death would have been better. The moment Katniss sings the folk song “The Hanging Tree”  this question pops into your head,“ Is death a better outcome then living.” It’s disturbing, it’s beautiful, it’s haunting and yet it’s just a simple song that sounds like it’s for children. Yes, it’s exactly like “Ring Around the Rosie”.
 (This is a fan’s interpretation of the song)
            Katniss’s ordeal will forever haunt her, and in the epilog we see how even with a family she still has nightmares from the arena and rebellion. In the end Mocking Jay was a decent ending, but not a great one.
            Over all I would suggest the series to everyone, just about, because even with its flaws it’s still awesome. 

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